With the Tamil Nadu government expecting a steady rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the state, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to immediately cancel the diversion of 80 MTs of oxygen to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
“As compared to the maximum case number of around 58,000 during the previous surge in 2020, the active caseload has already increased to over a lakh today. This has increased the oxygen demand…” Palaniswami said, adding that the state would require up to 450 MT oxygen shortly, which is more than the state’s current production capacity.
Calling the National Medical Oxygen Allotment plan a wrong move as it had allocated only 220 MTs for Tamil Nadu, Palaniswami said, “This is based on the wrong position that the existing oxygen consumption in Tamil Nadu is lower than the manufacturing capacity.”
Citing the Petroleum and Safety Organisations (PESO) data, the CM said the consumption of oxygen in Tamil Nadu has already reached 310MTs as against the “inadequate allotment” made by the Centre.
He said oxygen was allotted to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, despite their having a lower number of active cases than Tamil Nadu. Pointing out that those states have major steel industries, Palaniswami said that the diversion of oxygen from “Sriperu-mbudur plant, which supplies to Chennai city with the second biggest caseload in South India, seems to have no justification”.
According to a recent estimate by the National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai is likely to grapple with an estimated 1.25 lakh active Covid-19 cases by May 15. Hospitals in the state capital are already reporting more than 70 per cent occupancy rate.